Skip to content ↓
MIT student blogger Natnael G. '15

Measurements by Natnael G. '15

How do you measure a year in the life?





I was making the trek from East Campus to the Z-Center one day when my favorite song of the musical theatre genre came on (“Seasons of Love” from Rent). As I belted out the ways they measure a year, I began to wonder what units I use to measure my life. The first quantity that came to mind was distance and the easiest unit of measurement I found was music. But music lengths were too subjective; a song by two different artists can have drastically different lengths. So what specific songs define the distances in my life? A walk from East Campus to Simmons was equal to 3-4 Regina Spektor Songs, 2-3 Deadmau5 Songs, or 1/2 of an Ethiopian Song. The late night shuffle to La Verde’s at 3am finds itself clocking in at  3-4 Zelda OST, 2-3 Queen Songs

The more I thought about it, the more units that arose. Almost all sprouting from cultural references and important concepts in my life, I found the units that defined my life did more than just that, they defined my character. So I tried out one more measurement to see where it ended up.

Let’s try measuring “ridiculousness”. The first unit that comes to mind is Chris Dodd’s proofs(Interphase), followed by the ridiculous television shows that were my childhood (seriously, how did no one notice Yugi grew 2 feet every time he played cards?!), to the length of a FIRST Robotics’ Build Season, to the state of political relations between Greece and Turkey over the Aegean Sea(Debate).  The culmination of these units created a full picture of what made me who I am. So take a moment out of your frantic day and answer me a simple question.

How do you measure a year in the life?

6 responses to “Measurements”

  1. Ty says:

    I can’t seem to find a good unit of measure for MIT time. Time here passes so fast. Weeks go by because it is a constant stream of deadlines.

    Maybe that’s how I measure life here, by deadlines.

    IDK just a thought

  2. Mark F says:

    Lines of code smile I can find myself writing 100 lines of Objective C between 3.091 and 18.01. 300 lines of Ruby between 18.01 and dinner. If I’m feeling spontaneous, 1 line of brainf**k between psets during late night hours.

    Nice post btw, surprisingly insightful!

  3. Nathan Davis says:

    This question isn’t original. It comes from the song “Seasons of Love” in the musical RENT. Their answer is to measure it in love.

  4. Lawrence says:

    In daylights, sunsets, in midnights, miles run, chunks of Minecraft worlds, and games of Starcraft.

    Incidentally “Seasons of Love” is the preferred singalong song within my group of friends.

  5. Karan Singh Gill says:

    I usually judge it by conversations, or rather interactions between people. When I talk to my best friends or to people with interesting ideas (who tend to become good friends), my life passes faster, but it is also far more fulfilling. When I make social niceties, or talk to people out of boredom, I find that not only does time seem to pass slowly, but any form of interest or enthusiasm eludes me.

  6. Anthony L. '15 says:

    @Nathan: I think he realizes that. He embedded a video of it.

    Incidentally, I think
    > […] In midnights, in cups of coffee~
    is unusually fitting for a year at MIT.